Thursday, October 16, 2008

Unnerved...

I'm pretty relaxed about accepting friend requests on facebook. If someone is Welsh or Irish, I tend to assume that I somehow know them. Or if they're members of Plaid, I'll say yes. After all, they can't be that crazy if they hold the same beliefs as I do! I refuse ones who I obviously have no idea where they're from, or if we have no friends in common. Mainly, bacause I'm scared of all the identity theft stories you hear about. There's so much personal details up on my page, and though I don't have my address and so on up there and I have all the privacy settings set up, I still don't trust it 100%. Plus I don't want everyone to see my pictures!

My blog is a different matter. Its up on the web for everyone and anyone to see. I don't in any way try to hide who I am, or what I think or what I'm doing. I thought that I might as well be open and honest, and then there would be no speculation about who might be writing and so on. It would be pretty obvious that it was me anyway. Well, I'm Plaid's only press officer in parliament plus I think the only Plaid press officer in the party who has a bit of a karaoke obsession...

What I didn't anticipate when I embraced modern technology was how vulnerable it makes you. People you've never met think they know you, when really, you only put on a blog or a facebook profile what you want people to see. Though you may get a glimpse of the real me, its only my close friends and family who truly know me and all my quirks.

I had quite an upsetting incident last night, which I won't go into, but it has made me question how wise it is to put yourself out there as openly as I have. And I now find myself in a dilemma. Do I stop blogging and delete my facebook account just because someone does something which upsets me? Or do I just accept that its part and parcel of being involved in politics, and just be far more careful who I accept as friends from now on. After all, and this is no secret, I do hope to be a politician myself one day. If I'm lucky enough to ever be elected, then I will be contactable and public property anyway...

Its no wonder there are so few women bloggers or female politicians if its typical to get these kind of reactions. Just because you're young and opinionated, some men think its fair game to contact you and make comments about things other than your viewpoints. That's not the case. Its very intimidating and worse than that, it makes even strong characters like myself feel vulnerable. I love getting reactions to what I've written - don't get me wrong there. Its great to see people responding to my views, and engaging in proper debate, especially when they strongly disagree with me. Its also nice to receive the odd few compliment, and you also accept that you will be criticised as well. When I was a student union officer in Ireland, people posted some nasty things about my weight on websites and it didn't bother me. But when people cross that line it makes you question why you should make yourself so available? Yes, male politicians get crank calls and crazy letters as well. I'm fully aware of that. But females are subjected to worse things, and far more personal criticisms. Its no wonder then that so many, therefore, choose not to put themselves forward to be subjected in such a manner.

I'm not the sort of woman who'd ever accuse a man of anything just to get attention, or be too sensitive about comments. Indeed, I hate women like that and have, in the past, stood up for men that I know have been falsely accused of things. I think its terrible how people's reputations can be ruined by lies, and would never do that to anyone. Indeed, if I feel a man is being inappropriate I prefer dealing with it myself and just telling him how I feel without involving anyone else in the matter. That usually works.

I don't know what the solution for this kind of thing is. I guess the only thing you can do is put things like this down to experience and accept that they will happen. Its just such a shame. I love writing this blog, and I love being able to keep in touch with my friends via facebook. But if I decide to disappear, you'll know why...

8 comments:

Ordovicius said...

But if I decide to disappear, you'll know why...

Well I for one won't have a clue.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Heledd/Pendroni> "Life happens", we respond with a thick skin and humor/humour.

You're very right about the risk of ID theft.

It's very easy to block someone on Facebook - at the push of a few buttons on your keypad. So consider doing that and 'moveon.org'.

Really, really, don't let such things take over your life or force you to stop blogging - "that just wouldn't be right".

Heledd Fychan said...

Thanks. Just think I needed to let off steam about it all! Yes, blocking is a very useful tool - as is moving on. You live and learn I guess!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Heledd> honestly, "one does live and learn". It can be VERY painful AND disconcerting at times. But there really is no point in dwelling on such things or we would probably end up very depressed or nuts - maybe we are already!

Life is just so full of surprises, some good, but some bad. Such things can take our breath away and really force us to ask deep questions about how as individuals one didn't "spot that one coming" or 'how could that be', and for some "how could God expose us to that" and can make us feel not just vulnerable, but also angry and confused by the whole thing. It is really disconcerting when one comes across 'ships in the night' who think they know you and/or imagine they know you when they don't have a clue about you, but get angry when you don't fit their mental picture of this made-up person or whatever.

"Time heals" - I think it does for bad experiences with people one does not know. Next week, next month, and next year ... lots of good things are going to happen. I'm sure your mum would say things like that!

Glyn Davies said...

If you really want to become a politician, just learn to ignore the morons. Not many things that I've not been accused of. Used to make me cross and answer back. And then I learned that defending myself usually made things worse - so now I just ignore it. I don't want to see Montgomeryshire's best back off when there's a bit of rubbsh flying about. Stay in there

Un o Eryri said...

Paid a gadael i ffyliaid dy stopio. Nid wyf yn meddwl y buaset yn gadael i unrhyw lywodraeth dy rwystro rhag rhoi dy safbwynt, felly paid a gadael i unigolyn wneud

Banksy said...

All very good advice above.

You'll also find that a good, hard kick in the b******s also works a treat.

Nil illegitimi carborundum as me dad would say, mangling his Latin.

bethan said...

you have to continue so that the welsh blogs are not dominated by men, Heledd. I know exactly how you feel, but you will develop a thick skin. Ignore the horrible comments.

bethan